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Oct 15, 2001

Cabinet shuffle promotes Price, Samuels, Shoman

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But the biggest story emerging from the Prime Minister’s press conference had nothing to do with the hurricane. This afternoon, the P.M. announced the Cabinet shuffle instigated by the resignation of Minister of National Security, Jorge Espat. In January, the Prime Minister will give up the Foreign Affairs portfolio to Ambassador Assad Shoman, who will be recalled from his current position as Belize’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Shoman will first have to be appointed to the Senate before he can take his seat in cabinet.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Security has been divided. Max Samuels will take over as Minister of Home Affairs, which has responsibility for the Police Department, immigration and prisons. Samuels, a former police commissioner, says that his experience makes him well qualified for the post.

And after the relative luxury of being a minister without a portfolio, Senior Minister George Price has one of his old jobs back. He will now head the Ministry of Defence and National Emergency Management.

In less crucial changes, Mark Espat loses the Youth Department but takes over as Minister of Culture. Marcial Mes will remain Minister of Rural Development after losing the culture portfolio. Dickie Bradley retains the portfolio for Housing and Urban Renewal, but gives up responsibility for prisons. He is still in charge of the Post Office and Fire Department. Cordel Hyde, who remains Minister of Education and Sports, will now have the Youth Department added to responsibilities.

While the Prime Minister today maintained that the Cabinet reshuffle was in response to the events of September eleventh and devastation of Hurricane Iris, the fact is, that Shoman was long in the works and the dissolution of the Ministry of National Security was prompted solely by the resignation of Jorge Espat.

The Prime Minister’s speech will be aired in its entirety immediately following this newscast.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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